Beaverlodge, Sexsmith decline support for regional training facility

·2 min read

A youth sports training facility proposed for Grande Prairie is receiving mixed reviews from surrounding municipalities.

Project stakeholders are asking for operating support of $400,000 every year from the city’s neighbours. To date, Beaverlodge and Sexsmith councils have declined; Wembley and the County of Grande Prairie have endorsed the concept but made no financial commitments.

“The facility (would be) where athletes can receive all the services required to function at a high-performing level,” said Ryan Pomeroy, Pomeroy Lodging CEO and among the entrepreneurs who proposed the centre.

“We would bring coaches, trainers, sports psychologists, chiropractors and (other) disciplines under one roof.”

The trainers would be either tenants or contractors while the centre would be run by a non-profit society to be established, he said.

“Today, the only way you can access those services is if you are on a high-performing team or a high-performing athlete, …(and) you might drive all over town to (access them),” Pomeroy said.

“We can also offer those services to the aspiring athlete - the kids who didn’t make the team last year.”

However, he said the project can’t go forward without municipal investment, which is why the entrepreneurs brought the idea to the Grande Prairie Regional Recreation Committee (GPRRC).

The centre was proposed by Pomeroy along with Jordan Johnsen, a former Seven Generations executive, and Murray Toews, current Grande Prairie Storm president.

The entrepreneurs are seeking to purchase an equestrian property on the west side of the city within the first quarter of 2021 to add ice and gymnasium facilities. The property contains a 3,716 square-metre building and two other buildings 929 sq m each, Pomeroy said. Re-purposing the existing premises is estimated at $4.5 million.

According to the committee the entrepreneurs are seeking $400,000 in annual operating support from the municipalities.

Pomeroy and the other sponsors would oversee operations, according to county council’s agenda package.

Sexsmith mayor Kate Potter said some councillors were uncertain of the need for the centre, and with no municipal ownership of the facility they questioned if this was truly a municipal responsibility.

Krista Schuett, GPRRC regional recreation co-ordinator, said the project can still go forward if only one or two municipalities offer funding, Schuett said.

So far, she said city council voted to work with GPRRC on a joint funding agreement and she hasn’t heard from Hythe yet.

Greenview council voted to take no action.

Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News